TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
question; at what point to make the first mark?
One line placed on the canvas committed her to
innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocable
decisions. All that in idea seemed simple became
in practice immediately complex; as the waves
shape themselves symmetrically from the cliff
top, but to the swimmer among them are divided
by steep gulfs, and foaming crests. Still the risk
must be run; the mark made.
With a curious physical sensation, as if she
were urged forward and at the same time must
hold herself back, she made her first quick
decisive stroke. The brush descended. It
flickered brown over the white canvas; it left a
running mark. A second time she did it—a third
time. And so pausing and so flickering, she
attained a dancing rhythmical movement, as if
the pauses were one part of the rhythm and the
strokes another, and all were related; and so,
lightly and swiftly pausing, striking, she scored
her canvas with brown running nervous lines
which had no sooner settled there than they
enclosed (she felt it looming out at her) a space.
Down in the hollow of one wave she saw the next
wave towering higher and higher above her.
For what could be more formidable than that
space? Here she was again, she thought, stepping
back to look at it, drawn out of gossip, out of